Time to move on?

michaelocalypse

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I can't think of a concise way to describe it, but I think it's time to sell off most, if not all, of my gear and do something else with life. I've taken breaks and put my gear in a corner a few times. The only time I play is when one particular friend wants to start a project, which inevitably fails, and asks me to play drums because everyone else in town is a flake. I usually don't like the music, and I play so infrequently that I'm not physically capable of playing music that I do like.

In the grand scheme of things, life feels like I'm running a restaurant and half my building is half full of really nice auto repair tools that I keep around because a friend occasionally needs his tires aired up. (Best generic analogy I could come up with.)

I'll let this post marinate a bit and see what y'all think.
 

Jazzcrimes

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From someone who’s been through this a few times over the years my advice is:

  • Sell your drums if you feel it’s time. Maybe even sell them a bit under market price to an aspiring musician. Pass them along.
  • Keep your 2 or 3 favorite cymbals. Cymbals are easily stored and nearly impossible to truly replace down the line.
  • Never stop creating. Try painting, pick up another instrument, do woodworking, built a shed, plant a garden, take up cooking, write a book - something. This is important.
  • Keep consuming art. Listen to music, go to museums, go to plays, read.


You’ll be back - or you won’t. But the lack of a creative outlet is what will start to haunt you if you don’t keep that as part of your life.
 

repete

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I have been between band and have tried to start different projects that failed but besides that, I just like to play the drums and that's always given me joy. Just to be able to play them - by myself, along to favorite songs with headphones, with friends for fun. I've also been playing for 40 years so it's just apart of who I am.
I would say if you no longer think you would be able to find that joy within yourself or feel like putting the time in to find it, then it might be time to move on....
 

mtarrani

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You can never tell when it's time to reengage. I quit in 1967 when I joined the navy, thinking that it would be a four year hitch, and I would return to my hometown. The four years turned in to twenty-two years, and my hometown was no longer meaningful. My parents had moved to Florida and the other siblings were scattered around the country.

After leaving the navy I took a consulting job that turned into another career with just as much travel as the navy one. No time for drums, which I had forgotten about anyway. In 2004 I semi-retired and moved to Florida because of the low cost of living and proximity to family. My brother had a drum kit and insisted that I take it home. I protested that after thirty-seven years I was no longer interested in them, and besides my musical tastes had drastically changed. My girlfriend at the time encouraged me to bring them home, so I relented.

My first forays back into drumming confirmed that I should relegate them to memories of my youth, but I did get some instructional DVDs and slowly got back into them. Since I had a lot of time on my hands I spent a lot of it learning. I figured I would learn rudiments, how to at least read drum charts, and apply that to my new musical interests: jazz. The next thing I knew I was deeply into it, even more so than when I started in 1964.

The moral is let it go, but don't be surprised if you wind up back into it. Took me 37 years, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
 

kevin klever

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Coming from the other side of the coin here - I've spent 90% of my time and mental, emotional and physical bandwidth on the drums since I was about 20. I've had pretty much zero aspirations other than to be the best possible drummer and have the most rewarding career as a creative musician. I've sacrificed relationships, health, and many other opportunities in pursuit of this one goal (which of course has many facets). I'm turning 35 in a couple months, and my fairly fruitful full time career as a drummer is all but extinct due to the virus. I've played two gigs in the past four months and doesn't looks like it'll be much more frequent in the near future. Long story short, I've been REALLY enjoying exploring the other things life has to offer. I still try to practice an hour or two every day, but I've also been working out every day for the first time in my life, lifting weights and doing serious cardio. I'm taking online courses in chemistry and biology, which I've always had an interest in but never had time to check out. I've all but quit drinking. And the cool thing about all this is, I think I'm a much better drummer and musician right now than when I was fully immersed in the hustle and practicing four hours a day or whatever.

Point is - Life is way bigger than music. Music can bring you joy, but so can lots of things. It feels like you're putting a lot of pressure on the drums to be a big part of your life. If you need the bread, sell the drums (but not your fave cymbals). If you don't need the bread, and you don't need the space, stack em in a closet and let them be. You're likely to one day (maybe soon even) get the spark and want to sit down and play, and it's way easier to jump on that and see if it's resonating with you if you don't have to go out and buy a set first. If you still want to be playing music but just can't find anyone to play with due to your location, maybe grab a guitar, or a keyboard, something you can make complete songs with by yourself. Good luck!
 

Jazzhead

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If you are overwhelmed with the idea of lots of gear sitting and you are not even using them then start selling them, you will feel better...I don’t know how much gear you have but keep your favorite cymbal(s) and your favorite snare(s). They don’t take much space anyway.
+1 to what Jazzcrimes said, you never know you might be back and all you will need is just a little kit to start making music again or just play to have fun...
Having too much gear overwhelmed me so I sold some of the stuff I had.
 

Matched Gripper

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Coming from the other side of the coin here - I've spent 90% of my time and mental, emotional and physical bandwidth on the drums since I was about 20. I've had pretty much zero aspirations other than to be the best possible drummer and have the most rewarding career as a creative musician. I've sacrificed relationships, health, and many other opportunities in pursuit of this one goal (which of course has many facets). I'm turning 35 in a couple months, and my fairly fruitful full time career as a drummer is all but extinct due to the virus. I've played two gigs in the past four months and doesn't looks like it'll be much more frequent in the near future. Long story short, I've been REALLY enjoying exploring the other things life has to offer. I still try to practice an hour or two every day, but I've also been working out every day for the first time in my life, lifting weights and doing serious cardio. I'm taking online courses in chemistry and biology, which I've always had an interest in but never had time to check out. I've all but quit drinking. And the cool thing about all this is, I think I'm a much better drummer and musician right now than when I was fully immersed in the hustle and practicing four hours a day or whatever.

Point is - Life is way bigger than music. Music can bring you joy, but so can lots of things. It feels like you're putting a lot of pressure on the drums to be a big part of your life. If you need the bread, sell the drums (but not your fave cymbals). If you don't need the bread, and you don't need the space, stack em in a closet and let them be. You're likely to one day (maybe soon even) get the spark and want to sit down and play, and it's way easier to jump on that and see if it's resonating with you if you don't have to go out and buy a set first. If you still want to be playing music but just can't find anyone to play with due to your location, maybe grab a guitar, or a keyboard, something you can make complete songs with by yourself. Good luck!
Well put!
 

shuffle

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About 2 ys ago, i knew it was time to bow out after 40+ yrs of playing.
Dance floor full but im looking out the window,wanting to go home as i play,lost the passion i once had and im ok with that.
Got tired of drunks,bars,bar owners,double booking/double double booking,pay got less and less,logistics started to make me anxious,band wasnt interested in writing songs and eventually just called out tunes as we played,im not a social media fan so,i didnt advert much or book much anymore.
Just,was done.
After i quit the 2 bands i was in,i played at a church for a yr,but,not any longer.
Do i miss it,No!
No booking bs,no lugging around gear,dont need to be in bars any longer.
Sold 3 of my kits immediately and it felt good,but still have 4 more.
Hung on to 4 snares i like.
Put a few cymbals for sale but kept most.
I play about 3-4 times a week,20 mins for fun and it keeps me satisied.
Just wanted to be a good drummer,i feel i accomplished that.
Looking to get into pottery making,really!
 

Johnny K

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BTDT and sold a '73 Les Paul Deluxe I had for almost 30 years and swore I would be buried with. NO REGRETS! Someone else is playing it and it's not sitting in a case doing nothing. Sell it all. If you get the itch, you can buy it back later or get something different. FWIW, I made a 400% profit on the sale and now those LP Deluxe Goldtops like mine go for more than double what I sold it for in 2011.
 

LarryJ

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You can never tell when it's time to reengage. I quit in 1967 when I joined the navy, thinking that it would be a four year hitch, and I would return to my hometown. The four years turned in to ....

In 2004 .... semi-retired and moved to Florida ... My girlfriend at the time encouraged me to bring them home, so I relented....

The next thing I knew I was deeply into it, even more so than when I started in 1964.
Wow! I thought I was reading my own bio. I too quit in 1967, joined the Navy, and picked drums up again in 2002. Now working with a blues/rock trio, a big band, some bebop, and at church.

I would say sell your gear unless it has some special meaning to you. If you are out for any period of time, you will want to try all of the new stuff (I've tried 6 new sets so far).
 

JimmySticks

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Great stories.

I was a guitar player most of my life and I banged around with bands going nowhere. My last band was with 2 friends, that wound up hating each other and I got dragged into the middle of all their arguments. We eventually broke up and it broke our friendships up as well. I swore off the guitar after that and have barely played in the last 20 years. I regret that a little I will admit.

But I still loved music, so when I turned 60 I took up the drums and I'm loving life and music all over again. I'm playing just over a year now and I just love drumming. I don't know where it will take me, if anywhere, but I'm ok with that. It's a wonderful way to kill an hour or two a day in retirement and it'll help keep me young.

So maybe a new musical direction would help or just playing for yourself and for the fun of it. Keep a small kit and a couple of cymbals if you can and play once or twice a week and just enjoy it. No pressure, no expectations. Quitting altogether might lead to regret later on.
 

langmick

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Been there, and maybe there right now.

The first time I almost quit, a post on craigslist popped up about a Floyd tribute looking for a drummer...almost the same day I was ready to hang it up.

Turned out into 10 years of nice gigs, played in front of 10-20,000, and learned the music biz pretty well. Also had some really good shows for packed houses. Subbed with a big Floyd tribute out of Cleveland after that ended, another story, and had some good shows there.

But, went through a Dead trib that didn't work out, an then a Bowie trib that didn't really appeal to me.

So I have my drums, and a few contacts, and not going to life a stick unless it's a good gig. Picked up Resolume, a VJ software package, and may do some stuff with that if things get going again. I know a very good Yes tribute that I've worked with that needs video.

Don't give up, but don't screw around with music you despise, and have no control over. It's not a good way to spend time.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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I know where you are coming from , I hate having gear sitting around unused so I sell it . I am running pretty keen for me these days with three kits and 6 snare drums and two sets of cymbals. This was the result of a large purge of gear and getting down to only the equipment I gig with .

Once my gigs start getting fewer and far between , I will probably sell what I have now and get one small kit (20/12/14) and keep one metal ( Black Beauty ) and one wood ( N&C Walnut SS) shell snare and one set of cymbals . I have not decided on what kit for this last kit yet - it is probably between a N&C Walnut Kit or Sonor SQ2 potentially but that is a few years away from now .
 

atomicdave

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Do you enjoy sitting down to a kit, alone at home, just to play drums? if not, go ahead and SELL IT ALL!!! Reminds me of a story...an instructor had been teaching a student drum lessons for some time. the young student really didnt seem to catch on...instructor was about to tell parents it probably would be OK to stop lessons and not spend the time and $$$ on something that didnt seem of major important/interest/skill of the student....at local music shop, instructor saw student, as employee removing drum kit from shelf, the student just bought a new kit. Never told parents, and the student continued to play, for enjoyment, on his own. I know a few who have just played drums, no band (drum covers is kind of a thing now). My point: if you enjoy it, do it. If not, and you have REALLY considered selling it ALL, then...SELL IT ALL...drumming is not your thing/you are not a drummer.
 

BNK

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I quit my band in 2010 after 20 years together and after a year or so ended up selling all my gear, everything but my bass pedal. Just didn't have the spark anymore.

After a few years I ended up getting the itch to just play, band or no band, and I set out to buy all new gear. I truly miss some of my original gear, even if it was inferior to the new gear I have now.

What's wrong with just leaving it in the corner until you get the spark again?. You'll get peanuts for it and will pay dearly to buy all over again.
 

drummerfriend

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Like others, I totally relate to your sentiments as well.

I intentionally put myself on the 'do not call' list years ago in terms of bands/gigs, etc... 35 years of it was enough and the last few were not enjoyable.

Went through a few different phases - one of which was determining what I should sell or keep. I was considering selling everything but my wife reminded me that at this age, buying the quality of stuff I have would most likely unattainable on retirement wages. So, instead of selling, I packed everything I had away to see if the desire would come back on it's own.

Soon after I took up a new instrument, which then lead to a similar new instrument. Took lessons, etc....

About 10 months after I packed everything away, I had set back up some drums. Not for me, but for my child to play around with. After that interest came to an end, I repacked it all away.. Still didn't play...

It took about another year or so before I regained the interest to try it again.

These days I practice (almost daily) from the material that challenged me many years ago and still challenges me to this day. I find it fun and inspiring. I remain disinterested in ANY gigging (not that any exist).

Looking back, I'm glad I didn't sell anything. I didn't act out of my emotions at that time because those have changed since.

Perhaps considering not selling anything and packing it all away to see if you feel different 1 - 2 years from now.

Just sharing my thoughts...
 

BennyK

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Inspiration and motivation has arrived on my doorstep from some unexpected places . I've come to learn that the state of mind by which I identify myself as a drummer has, over the years , been less defined by the instrument itself , though I do keep more than I currently need in terms of gear and related equipment .

For many years I saw my drums as tools . Tools needed to make a sort of living, and like a mechanic I tried to own the best possible ones to do the best possible work others were paying me to do . I injured my back and developed chronic sciatica , had to walk away from three steady working bands . C'est la guerre .

A substantial part of my identity was defined as a performing musician . Though the satisfaction of being part of a creative process ( when it works ) is undeniable , studio work has rarely been the same sort of fun as live performance for me . As an eighteen year old I was determined to make it as a drummer for reasons significantly less than musical , if you know what I mean .

At sixty six I have little regret in the life I chose and still look ahead to whatever lies around the next corner or beyond the horizon .


I've learned that selling off all my instruments does not change who I am , though sometimes I wish that it were so .

Nice little cowbell part here ...

 
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